Workers across the nation are pushing back against companies' widespread rollback of remote positions after the pandemic revolutionized the way we work. For nearly three years, workers settled into a new routine that included Zoom calls, comfy clothes, and a short commute from the bed to their workspace. Yet, fast-forward to today, companies are reversing course and pushing the return to the office and on-site meetings, luring workers with promises of the benefits of face time with their boss and employers and sometimes even higher salaries.
A report from LinkedIn shows the number of job openings offering remote work is declining. In March 2022, remote-focused listings accounted for more than 20% of job postings, but that number dropped to 14% in November of that same year.
And still, workers are saying "no” to returning to the office after years of adapting to remote work and proving they can effectively and efficiently complete their jobs from home. Many are refusing to once again get in their cars for long commutes and once again outfit their closets with business wear.
xoNecole spoke to two women about their experience navigating the once remote-friendly environments that are quickly morphing into hybrid or full-time in-office roles.
Dalal calls herself a “pandemic cliché.” The journalist left Atlanta with her laptop in hand and returned to her hometown in Chicago at the start of the pandemic, not knowing it would be years before she returned. She moved home to pitch in more, joining the nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers who are caregivers in their families, according to the Rosalynn Carter Institute.
After being at home for nearly two years, she got the call to return to the Atlanta office and found herself reluctant to return. "I started to explore the possibility of staying remote," Dalal shares. "I was immediately offered a job that paid more and was local in Chicago."
Q: Initially, you hesitated about returning to the office but then found an in-office opportunity that on paper, looked too good to pass up and still allowed you to stay in the same city as your family. How did you reconcile going back to the office and the return to the same in-office pressures you had left behind?
A: I lasted three months in that new in-office role before I put in my notice. I actually went back to my previous company and was offered a remote role if I came back as a freelancer. As a freelancer, the pay is lower, there’s less stability, and your salary is solely based on the days you work, and I gave up vacation time. But now, I am able to say “no.” No, when I need to take my mom to a doctor's appointment. No, I don't want to do the 4 a.m. shift. If I had stayed full-time with my steady office job, I wouldn’t have that flexibility.
"Now, I am able to say 'no.' No, when I need to take my mom to a doctor's appointment. No, I don't want to do the 4 a.m. shift. If I had stayed full-time with my steady office job, I wouldn't have that flexibility."
Q: After going from remote to an in-office job and then back to remote, what benefits did you find in remaining WFH?
A: Having that quiet time alone to focus on my position. My quality of work didn’t go down, it went up. Not only can I do this job, but I can do it really well without [the] distractions that come along with the office space where everybody is freaking out about 40 different things. There are people coming to your desk asking for things that are not so immediate, and it gets to the point where you can't really focus on the work.
Working remotely, you can literally turn off your phone, mute team chats, and start to learn to prioritize what is important and what is not.
Q: Are there any regrets about losing or missing out on that in-office experience?
A: You always see job opportunities out there. I could be making so much more if I move to New York or back to D.C. But then, I’ll also be paying $2,400 a month in rent, which I'm not doing now. Then there are the other expenses, during the gas crisis, it would have cost me $3-400 a month. Then there are the silly things, like if I get hungry, I just go make myself a sandwich. Whereas in the office, I’d maybe spend $15 a day on lunch just to have that peace of mind away from my colleagues. Also, there’s the added cost of dressing professionally, which is something I really had to worry about in D.C. that I don't have to worry about at home.
Q: In the push to get workers back in the office, is there anything you feel like employers actually lose out on?
A: During the pandemic, people became available all of the time. Let's say my shift starts at 7 in the morning, but if you text me at 6:30 a.m. I still might respond because the lines are more blurred at home and not as concrete as working an 8-hour shift in the office and going home and turning off your work phone.
Q: We’re seeing massive layoffs and a rapid decline in remote roles. How should other workers approach staying firm with their decision to stay remote?
A: In careers that are focused on status, the next big role, or your next big organization, there's always going to be something for you. Opportunities always evolve. You just have to figure out the balance between what's most important at that point in your life. Be confident in the work that you're doing and your abilities, and constantly put yourself out there. Don’t be scared.
Traditionally, tech workers have had a wealth of access to remote roles even before the pandemic. Today, that dynamic stretches across both occupations and demographics across the board. Flexibility is now in demand, and despite the efforts of employers to win employees back into the physical workplace, Americans are keen to remain at home no matter the cost. A study by Goodhire found that 61% of those surveyed would take a pay cut to maintain remote working status.
xoNecole spoke to a tech professional, Chelsea, an operations project manager, on navigating the now-changing landscape for tech workers who once had the upper hand in remote roles.
Q: What’s your experience been like in tech?
A: I've been remote most of my career with heavy travel, so while I'm not in an office, half the month I'm either on site or in a different city. The tech world crumbled during the pandemic, and I got laid off twice. I ended up taking a great role at the end of 2020 that financially was the most I've ever made.
Q: So you’ve finally landed this incredible role. What happened when the call to go back into the office came?
A: I got anxious. Initially, this company sold the job as a remote role, and then a year in, they said we’re going back into the office.
Q: Wow! So they misrepresented the job? How did you handle going into this role thinking you would be remote and then being called into an office you were never supposed to see the inside of?
A: It's manipulative, but I think that it's going to happen more and more as we get further away from the pandemic. After it was announced we would be going back, I got anxious! I was in a unit that called itself innovative and prided itself by saying they would remain remote. But companywide, there was a mandate to return to the office, and that included my unit.
On top of that, I struggled with connecting with my coworkers. They were all a lot older than me, they were all married and just at a different stage of life, and there wasn't much diversity. So even though I was remote and it was a great role, I was miserable thinking about returning to the office with people I did not connect with.
Q: How did you handle essentially being told remote work was no longer an option and you would have to go into the office?
A: I made a bold move and reached out to a company I’d connected with previously but had turned down. I asked if they would still be interested in me as a candidate. They didn’t have anything immediately but eventually made an offer.
Q: How did the new offer compare to your current one?
A: Overall, it was a 25% pay cut, thousands less, and still, it was a no-brainer for me. It has been the best decision that I have made. It was still fully remote, included travel, and the people have been amazing. I have the best connections with my coworkers even though we’ve never met in person, we still hop on Zoom and cackle together. Despite the pay cut, I’m happy with my choice.
"It was a 25% pay cut, thousands less, and still, it was a no-brainer for me... Despite the pay cut, I'm happy with my choice."
Q: For many, the idea of a pay cut is taking a step back. What were the conversations you had surrounding your decision?
A: My partner is very big on negotiating and not making lateral moves, so it didn’t make sense to him. But this role is a better fit all around, and even though it's less money, you can’t buy happiness.
Q: You accepted a pay cut to remain remote. Why was that important for you?
A: Flexibility! On my calendar today, I blocked off two hours. You know what it's for? A kindergarten graduation. Going back into the office, I would have had to take PTO or check in and let everyone know where I was going and when I would be back. Now, I just put a block on my calendar that says I’m not available. I can work from out of town or go out of the country, and as long as I have my laptop and my phone, I can still get my work done.
On top of that, it’s the realization that eight hours sitting at a desk is not the most productive for me. Sometimes I’m more productive after the traditional hours of 9-5, and being remote gives me that flexibility.
Q: Like so many others, you found yourself at a company that walked back their initial remote policy. Has this new company expressed that they, too, will go that route?
A: We’re a national company with locations across the country, and everyone, including leadership and central team members, work remotely. The only way I go into an office now is when it’s my choice, and I’ve been very frank with my boss that if it was a set requirement to come into the office, I would find another job. I don’t ever see my company going back in the office, and it’s a plus because it allows for a wider pool of talent, and we all bring different ideas and experiences to the team.
Q: What advice can you offer on having the confidence to make choices that not everyone agrees with when it comes to your career and staying in a remote role?
A: I would say, “Don't focus on one single career.” Every kind of career path has remote work, not just tech. Ultimately don't be afraid to leave.
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Featured image by Olena Kovalova/Getty Images
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy